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Murder charges filed in shooting of woman near Lakeville daycare

Prosecutors say Atravius Weeks shot his former girlfriend, who had recently ended their relationship, multiple times and left her dead in a parking lot.

LAKEVILLE, Minn. — A Richfield man is charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a woman near a daycare facility in Lakeville.

The criminal complaint filed in Dakota County District Court details the case and second-degree murder charge filed against 32-year-old Atravius Weeks in the death of his former girlfriend early Tuesday. 

It all started when Belle Plaine police were dispatched to an apartment complex around 1:15 a.m. on reports of a man violating an order for protection. A woman told dispatchers her former boyfriend, identified as Weeks, was outside pounding on the walls of the building and was carrying a gun. She said if he got inside, she was afraid she would die. Later in the 911 call the woman told operators Weeks had messaged her saying he had just shot himself. 

Squads responded and learned the suspect had fled on foot. They located his vehicle, a silver Audi, in the parking lot and saw a "significant amount of blood" inside the vehicle and a 9mm shell casing on the front seat. 

Officers were able to reach Weeks by phone, and he reportedly agreed to come back to the apartment complex and talk with them. He arrived carrying a handgun, but dropped it when officers ordered him to do so. While treating a wound on his forehead investigators say Weeks told them "I just killed my best friend." When asked who, he allegedly told them the victim was 29-year-old Courtney Henry, and that he had shot her seven times. 

RELATED: Woman's body found near Lakeville day care; man arrested

Police located the victim outside a Lakeville daycare-preschool facility, laying in the parking lot along with nine spent shell casings. It appeared she had been shot in the leg, thigh, stomach and neck. Multiple witnesses in the neighborhood reported hearing a number of shots around midnight. 

The dead woman was positively identified as Henry, and investigators learned she had recently ended her relationship with Weeks. 

Weeks made his first court appearance Thursday, where bail was set at $2 million. If found guilty of second-degree murder, he could receive a maximum recommended sentence of 40 years in prison. 

According to 2019 data from the Minnesota Department of Health, about 21 Minnesotans are killed every year by an intimate partner. Some reports say domestic violence is up by nearly 10% nationwide since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

If you or anyone you know is in danger, here are some resources:

  • In Minnesota, call Women's Advocates Crisis Line: 651-227-8284
  • In Minnesota, call Cornerstone’s Day One Crisis Hotline at 1-866-223-1111
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • Always call 911 if you are in immediate danger.
  • The Domestic Abuse Project offers assistance
  • The Domestic Abuse Service Center lists resources available through Hennepin County

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